Raúl Ruidíaz could make his MLS debut as soon as Sunday, but he’s unlikely to train with the Seattle Sounders at least until they arrive in Atlanta on Friday. As of Tuesday, Ruidíaz was still in Peru, where he’s apparently still waiting on his visa to be approved.
“If the U.S. government does not screw this up — I have to be careful there — if they progress as we hope, then he might be able to meet us in Atlanta but it’s still not 100 percent,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer told reporters following Tuesday’s training session. “They are still working on the details.”
Ruidíaz has only lightly trained with the Sounders once since his signing was announced on June 29. He had basically flown directly from Russia to Seattle at that point and the Sounders gave him permission to return to Mexico to settle personal affairs. He then went to Peru where he needed to be interviewed by the U.S. consulate in order to obtain his visa.
Given the limited time with the team, Schmetzer said Ruidíaz would likely be limited to reserve duty even if he’s available.
“It’s obviously tough if a guy hasn’t trained to get him 90 minutes, but that’s a conversation we’ll have,” Schmetzer said. “He’s got a program he’s been following to keep himself fit, but if he shows up on Friday or Saturday it will be challenging.”
Also potentially available for Sunday’s nationally televised game with Atlanta United are Gustav Svensson and Roman Torres, although both are questionable for different reasons. Although Torres was training on Tuesday, he’s still dealing with the ankle injury he suffered in Panama’s final World Cup match. Svensson is at least fit, but hasn’t actually joined the team after Sweden was knocked out of the World Cup by England on Saturday.
“There’s a good chance Gustav will be available for selection,” Schmetzer said. “I won’t say anything definitively; there’s ongoing talks, it’s an emotional time for players after the World Cup. It takes time for guys to overcome what they’ve been through emotionally. Gustav has a really strong character. I’m sure when he’s ready and feels he can contribute, we’d love to have him back.”